Discover Berlin’s Most Popular Dish: The Döner Kebab

The Wall Street Journal calls the sandwich a symbol of Germany's new multiculturalism.

August 26, 2017 5:00 am

Though many people might think of the schnitzel when they think of Berlin’s most tasty dish, they forget about the döner kebab. The Wall Street Journal went on a walking tour of kebab spots with Berlin food blogger Per Meurling, a Swedish expat who moved to the city in 2009.

The kebab first arrived in the German capital in the 1960s with the Turkish guest workers who came as part of an agreement during Germany’s postwar boom, writes the Wall Street JournalThe vertically stalked spit-cooked meat was put between bread in Berlin, and over time, salads and sauces were added to adapt to Teutonic tastes. No one really knows where the sandwich originated, though many have taken credit.

The Wall Street Journal writes that few foods are as “emblematic of the German capital’s new multiculturalism.” It is more popular than many of the foods you may be able to name off the top of your head, like schnitzels and pretzels, and it is sold on every street corner, in seemingly every gas station convenience store and of course at full-service restaurants.

A serving of a Berlin döner generally costs under $5, and they come in puffy bread and hoagie rolls. You can get a variety of condiments on them, such tomatoes and onions, or German red cabbage. You get a choice of garlic, herb, and sweet-chili sauces. The meat itself — beef or veal — is rubbed with a blend of cumin and coriander, and occasionally flavored with layers of lamb fat, and it is sheared off with a knife or electric shaver. There is now a distinct chicken, served with fried vegetables, genre.

A few brave souls have tried to create the artisanal döner kebab, but no one has been successful.

Meurling said that a lot of the mass-volume döner is “crap” and therefore, he took the Wall Street Journal  to the “unicorns.”

So where are those places? The Wall Street Journal put together the top five places (and addresses!).

Tadim: It is a 20-year-hole in the wall in Kreuzberg, featuring a massive, two-hand sandwich. A triangle of warm Turkish bread is stuff with meat, lettuce, chopped tomato, sliced onion and house-made red chili-and-yogurt-based garlic and herb sauces. Adalbertstrasse 98,

Imren Grill: This offers a more “assertive sandwich” writes The Wall Street Journal. It serves one of the meatiest, most potently seasoned beef döners in town, which comes with caramelized onion and melted lamb fat. Karl-Marx-Strasse 75,

Hasir: This restaurant offers a more “civilized dining experience” with a classic veal kebab, and even offers alcohol (most döner places are alcohol-free). Adalbertstrasse 12,

Rüya: Offers a slightly healthier spin on the class veal or beef döner kebab. Wall Street Journal writes that the sandwich features “shaved chicken, crumbled sheep cheese, fresh mint, fried potato, carrot and eggplant all served on a hoagie bun.” Hauptstrasse 133,

 And finally, the meatless kebab:
Vöner: Offers a fake-meat sandwich made of wheat protein. Topped with lettuce, tomato, and chili and herb sauces. Boxhagener Strasse 56,


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